Lawdiva Updates: Child Abduction


This post told of the misery of fathers around the world whose children have been spirited to Japan by their Japanese mothers, leaving the fathers in emotional and financial turmoil, because the Japanese courts refuse to recognize their parental rights. Many children have not seen their fathers since they were abducted.

This week, after significant lobbying by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, Japan’s Prime Minister and Cabinet have endorsed the adoption of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, an international treaty that provides a process to return children to their country of habitual residence.

However, it is far from a done deal, since Japan’s Parliament must approve the resolution and experts believe this will be an uphill battle. Of the G8 countries, only Japan and Russia have refused to sign the treaty.


Father Peter Innes sued his ex-wife’s lawyer after his ex, Maria Jose Carrascosa, abducted their daughter Victoria, to her native Spain in 2005. Upon her return to America in 2006 she was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Unfortunately, Victoria, now 11-years-old, still resides with her Spanish maternal grandparents and the Spanish courts have refused to order the child’s return to the U.S.

The U.S. court had given Mr. Innes custody of his daughter and directed the mother’s lawyers to hold the child’s passport. When Ms. Carrascosa changed lawyers, the passport was released to her and she fled to Spain with her daughter.

This week Mr. Innes received a verdict for $950,000.00 against his ex’s lawyer and her law firm. The lawyer argued that as the second law firm acting for Ms. Carrascosa they were not aware of the court order with respect to the passport.

The Court held that Carrascosa’s lawyer was a trustee of the passport despite her lack of knowledge. The law firm says this decision ignores case precedents and is in error, as it expands the duty of care beyond a lawyer’s client to a client’s former spouse.

A 2002 report from the United States Department of Justice indicates that 203,900 children are victims of family abduction every year. Twenty-four per cent of children abducted are wrongfully held for one week to one month.

I say parental abduction is a most selfish act and an egregious form of child abuse.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

20 thoughts on “Lawdiva Updates: Child Abduction

  1. Thanks for the article Paul. It really is unbelievable that Japan refuses to recognize fathers as an integral part of a child’s life.

    They are as narrow-minded as the Muslim jurisdictions that only award custody to fathers, but these are third-world countries, not leading industrial nations.

    1. In Japan there is no concept of joined or shared custody, when you divorce you have to choose who gets custody. 90% of the time its the mother. The non-custodial parent (in my case the foreign parent) gets ZERO rights. i can see kids IF they want to see me, if they dont then Im SOL. Courts will not enforce visitation but they will enforce payment of child support if you get behind or dont pay.

      Lots of cases in japan where even japanese couples the wife takes up with kids ( usually back to parents) effectively kidnapping them. I have met japanese men who have very little contact with their kids after a divorce.

      In Japan also a divorce is considered a “clean break” and most women dont want an ex-husband hanging around when they have boyfriends or new fiances in the mix who may get jealous or resentful about fathers continued contact with kids.

  2. Georgialee, for the record the Japanese government have been dragging their feet on this issue for years and its not as though they are doing it willingly. They are getting a lot of outside pressure and being pressured by people like Hillary Clinton, no less. They even have a word for it called “gaiatsu” which means outside pressure. I will believe this when it happens but in the meantime my kids live without their daddy in their lives.

  3. PS Japan may be an industrialised country but the thinking and mentality of politicians here hasn’t changed much since the Meiji period of over 100 years ago. In many ways its still a very backward and provincial mindset that goes on here.

  4. Parental child abduction is indeed an egregious form of child abuse. Hopefully my case sent a message to not only the abductors, but the lawyers who assist them. My ex-wife is serving 14 years in prison and her lawyers owe me and my daughter almost $1 million as a result of their actions. These results speak volumns about how regular citizens view using a child as a pawn in a legal dispute.

    1. “…her lawyers owe me and MY daughter almost $1 million… ”
      How much money has your daughter received from you, Peter?

      1. Any money awarded to my daughter will never touch my hands. It will be held and distributed by a court. However, no amount of money can cure the damage done to my daughter by her abductors.

    2. Money can cure many things (you probably know that), and the only thing we know for sure is that ‘her abductors’ are given your daughter the best education in the best American-Spanish school in Valencia, etc…, without any help from you.

  5. Peter I couldn’t agree with you more. I have litigated many Hague cases and each one underscores the depravity of a parent who cannot accept that their child has two parents, not one.

    If you are ever interested in contributing a guest post about your case, it would be gratefully received.
    My posts on child abduction and child abuse are the most popular of my posts.

    Thanks for your participation.

  6. I am not much into reading, but I have read lots of articles on your blog. Its amazing how interesting they are.

  7. Although a country is signed up to the Hague Convention there is huge variation in the way it is followed by judicial systems . My six year old daughter was taken to Brazil ten months ago and movement has been minimal. Little information is forthcoming and my daughter is losing her English almost totally. Impossible and emotionally life destroying.

  8. Lawdiva, only part of the story is said here, again.
    “The U.S. court had given Mr. Innes custody of his daughter and directed the mother’s lawyers to hold the child’s passport…” I believe that is not true. The second thing (passport hold by lawyers) happened long before the first one.

    Also, Mr. Innes was given custody of his daughter in USA after Carrascosa had been given custody of her daughter in Spain and Innes’ petition for the return of the child had been rejected.
    USA court didn’t listen to or respect what took place in Spain first. Ms. Carrascosa came back to the USA to try to solve things. She had custody of her daughter when she entered the country, and there was a Spanish dismissal of the father’s petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. That was 2005 and she’s been in jail since then.

    The child has been deprived of her mother since 2005. The father, Peter Innes, hasn’t made any effort to visit his child or help her monetarily.

    Does anyone seriously think that this child’s best interest has been addressed by the jailing of her mother?

    1. You have your story backward.

      It is the courts in Spain who had absolutely no consideration for this child’s best interest. In the Hague proceeding the Spanish court found the “habitual residence” of Victoria was in the US. Their own court psychologist found the child had no negative feelings toward her father, she was being manipulated by the mother and mother’s family and they advised the child be returned to the US. The Spanish court also completely ignored two US court orders demanding the child be returned. So they not only had no concern for the child’s best interest they had no interest in the mandates of the Hague treaty. The treaty required them to do three things – establish the place of habitual residence, insure the child return would not be harmful and respect the laws of the country of habitual residence. The Spanish court failed miserably in its duties.

      And you expect the US courts to accept the result of such bias and inept behavior by an foreign court?

      If your answer is yes, maybe you should go back to Spain.

      1. I guess we have to believe you because you are such a good person while your ex-wife is the devil incarnate so she deserves to be 14 years in jail.

        To be honest, I don’t know the details (that are probably not included in what you just wrote up here) so I won’t just believe you for what you’re saying.

        I only know that someone is allowing his daughter’s mother to be in jail for 14 years, and that same person isn’t trying too hard to visit or help his daughter in the meantime. And those facts say a lot to me. I really wonder what’s the real goal of that person. If his goal is to recover his daughter, I’m afraid he’s not doing too good so far. I don’t know the child at all, but I can get an idea of how she must feel. I would definitely be very unhappy and angry with that after all this time.

      2. Again, you’ve gotten this incorrect. I did not put her in jail – she put herself in jail. She abducted my daughter. I agree 14 years is harsh, but that wasn’t up to me. What is a certain fact is she didn’t ever have to set a foot in jail had she and her family been willing to allow me a normal relationship with my daughter. One that would most certainly include supporting her financially, as you note.

        However, you may be correct about her being the “devil incarnate”.

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